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Eickholt remembered as long-time fair director PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, June 26, 2013 12:13 AM

Staff Reports

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OTTAWA — The 2013 Putnam County Fair is in full swing for the 158th year.

The annual festivities began with the Fair Parade which marched down Main Street Saturday evening. However, the ceremonial start of the fair took place Monday at the Plaza with the Opening Ceremonies. The ceremony saw speakers ranging from representatives of Bob’s Latta’s office to the Putnam County Commissioners.

A highlight of the ceremony was the dedicating of the fair and fair premium book to the late Roman A. Eickholt.

For 41 years, Roman A. Eickholt Sr. served faithfully as a fair director.

Eickholt, “Romie” as he was known by his colleagues, was the longest- serving Putnam County fair board member when he retired from his post in 2003. At the age of 80, he hated to admit he was getting old.

“They ain’t kicking me off or anything,” he said.

Quite the contrary, according to fair board treasurer Gary Ordway, who felt Eickholt was one of the best, “He doesn’t miss nothing.”

Eickholt had an uncle who served at the fair. In a way, he followed in his uncle’s footsteps. But not in every way.

“My uncle passed away here at the fairgrounds, right over by the merchants building,” he recalled. “His wife asked me if I would be interested in a job on the fair board if I could get it.” The year was 1962.

Eickholt saw many changes in the fair during his 41 years of service. “I was here when we had outside restrooms, the two-holers,” he said. The entertainment was mostly horse pulls and harness racing. Rides included the merry-go-round and ferris wheel. Food offerings were mostly family-style.

Fair President Don Verhoff welcomed the patrons to the Blue Ribbon event during the ceremony that was capped by the traditional ringing of the bell. The bell was originally in the Putnam County Court House in Kalida before its demise.


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